The Space Between Words is a Pause
For Mike Chua
In my memory, there are three types
of pauses, each inaudible, a space in
between words, which has become ours.
This is the catalogue:
when you held the packet of air waiting
for me to decide, and I couldn’t decide
if now was the best time to blow the
candles out—till the match struck itself,
lit itself on fire onto the birthday candle
wick, and you exhaled for me, in your
off-key tone, you softly sang the opening
lines of ‘Happy Birthday.’
when my eyes widened and the salt-tinged
bead of sweat, slowly made its way down
from my brow, cupping the curve of my
face, resting gently on my upper lip; my
lower lip numbed from the heat off
the chilli-seed oil from yours.
When I leaned in, you turned my neck in
your palm, the grip of your fingers barely
touching the ghost heat between us;
I can almost taste the warm air you
tentatively left behind.
In my memory, each pause is ascribed
to you, such that between words, new
syllables of space form into
our very own world’s lingua franca.
The space between words is a poem
waiting for its home.